Asbestos has been found in a rock sample at the site of Gogebic Taconite’s proposed northern Wisconsin iron ore mine, and opponents of the mine says the project should be tabled because of it.
The state Department of Natural Resources says mineral fibers of the cancer-causing asbestos were confirmed by the state’s Geological and Natural History Survey. Members of the Penokee Hills Education Project inspected wetlands Monday, and later said the mine should be put off because the asbestos that was found could be released in to the environment.
Gogebic Taconite has been conducting exploratory work at the site of the proposed four mile long open pit mine. The DNR says the extent of the asbestos is not known yet. If the company applies for a permit to open the mind, agency officials say Gogebic would have to determine the amounts of the chemical present, and explain how it would control the spread of airborne emissions.
The company said earlier it did not believe asbestos was at the site, based on exploratory work done by US Steel several decades ago. A Gogebic spokesman says the company will conduct its own studies to determine how much asbestos is present.